Lists, Reviews, The Booth

The Booth: Matthew Field

Fans, casual listeners and critics aren’t the only consumers of music. Every fortnight, we ask a prominent or exciting local artist to share five tracks that are currently on rotation on their boombox/diskman/Zune – oldies, latest hits, oddities and obscurities. Welcome to The Booth.

As the front man and songwriter for Beatenberg, Matthew Field provides the country’s pioneering pop band with its most essential elements. While the experienced production and bass playing skills of Ross Dorkin and the masterful drumming from Robin Brink are essential for the (current and exponentially growing) success of their sound, they make pop music, which means that vocal melodies and lyrics are what stick with the masses. Field’s songwriting has resulted in some of the most sincerely relevant lyrics to come from a South African pop album in the past two decades as well as a vocal and melodic quality unmatched by any other pop songwriter in the country. He made this comment on their music: “It’s about emotions, images and fleeting senses of things: the mad stuff that everyone feels and almost understands”. The band has consistently insisted on being referred to as a pop outfit as they believe pop music can be serious too. Having released The Hanging Gardens of Beatenberg last week Monday, the album has soared to #3 on the South African iTunes chart. It’s clear that Beatenberg have made a profound step toward changing the South African perspective on how pop music should be defined and how gaining cross-over appeal no longer has to carry the stigma of ‘selling out’. Pop music can be serious, sophisticated and fun without having to be throwaway.

Here are his 5 tracks:


Stromae Papaoutai

Such a strong and poignant song. I absolutely love the way he sings on this. I’m not usually one for filthy lead synths but Stromae does it in the best way.


Issa Bagayogo Toroya

A deep one. I love the high notes that come in from 1:48, like a bird circling high in the sky.


Ramona Lisa Dominic

I can hardly bear this song. Very potent. Worth noticing the calibre of the bass lines. The video is also great.


Antonio Carlos Jobim Wave

This is a classic for a reason. Lush and romantic in the best way. There’s a kind of naïvety in the execution that makes this original recording really special.


Gabriel Fauré Aprés un rêve

A small dose of a heady concotion. The harmony is rich and intense and I dig it. Fauré is worth getting into.

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